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Utah high school student has graduation ceremony early, so his terminally ill mother can watch him

Posted at 7:25 AM, Jan 26, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-26 09:25:27-05

BOX ELDER COUNTY, Utah -- One mother in Box Elder County is terminally ill with liver cancer, but wants to see her youngest son graduate from high school.

Sherri Madson has already beat the odds with how long she’s lived, but in the last few weeks family members realized Madson might not make it for her son’s graduation ceremony in May.

“During our Christmas party I asked her if she was going to be there for my graduation and she said she didn’t know if she was going to make it,” said Tyson Madson, Sherri’s youngest son, adopted from Chicago.

Tyson’s Dad, family and members of the community decided to make one of Madson’s wishes come true — see Tyson walk with his diploma.

“I didn’t really want to wear the robe thing, but I did it because I knew it was for my Mom and I wanted to make her happy,” said Tyson.

Bringing in flowers, having class presidents speak and even using the actual graduation programs, the Madson family joined two other families in hosting a graduation ceremony Saturday.

“As they’re finishing up and saying you’re the graduate school of 2019 they also said, ‘when you complete your qualifications and you will complete your qualifications.’ That made me laugh,” said Madson.

Lot’s of laughter and tears as Madson said about 60 people attended… but most important to Tyson? His mom was there.

“I just want her to know that I love her so much,” said Tyson. “I know when she goes, she’ll be watching over me.”

Tears streamed down her face as Madson said, “I felt like I’m a part of it, whether or not I am that day.”

Madson was a teacher for 18 years, and a school counselor up until two weeks ago when she was unable to go back in to work.

Not knowing how much time they have left with Madson, the family is creating a foundation dedicated to students in their mother’s name.